In the world of archery hunting, staying one step ahead of the game is not just a strategy – it's a necessity. One valuable tool that has revolutionized the way hunters approach their craft is the trail camera and more specifically cellular trail cameras. Beyond conventional use for scouting and tracking game, trail cameras play a pivotal role in the post-season period. Let's explore five compelling reasons why archery hunters should integrate trail cameras into their post-season arsenal.
# 1. Monitoring Herd Health and Deer Densities:
The post-season isn't just a time for archery hunters to hang up their bows; it's a critical phase for assessing the health and condition of the local deer population. Trail cameras provide an invaluable window into the lives of deer after the hunting season concludes. By strategically placing cameras near feeding areas, water sources, and known bedding spots, hunters can observe deer behavior, assess their body conditions, and even identify potential health issues.
Understanding the overall health and densities of the deer herd is vital for not only sustainable and ethical management practices but also for game planning for next season. There's no reason to set your eye on harvesting a 5 year buck if you only have 2 and 3 year olds walking around.
# 2. Shed Hunting Insights:
If you're a shed hunting fanatic there is no better tool than a cellular trail camera. For years people have talked about implementing trail cameras into their shed hunting routine with the objective of becoming more efficient with not only time but also pressure. In today's world with cellular trail cameras being the device type of choice, efficiency can be taken to the next level.
Utilizing cellular trail cameras to monitor when bucks are dropping antlers is THE BEST way to be more efficient and lower unneed pressure on your shed hunting parcels. Two primary goals would be to not bump bucks that have not yet shed by being surgical with your pressure and monitor specific bucks. Placement is key here, here are a few areas to focus on:
- Food sources
- Bedding areas
- Fence/Ditch/Waterway crossings (anywhere bucks have to jump or traverse harsh terrain)
# 3. Monitoring Trespassing and Security Applications:
Trail cameras are not just tools for wildlife observation; they also serve as guardians of your hunting grounds. In the postseason, when human activity in the woods might be less expected but over the last decade of being in business we've actually seen more trespassing happen during the postseason. Typically it comes in the forms of mushroom, ginseng, and shed hunters throughout the spring. Trail cameras act as silent sentinels, capturing images of any intruders or trespassers. This surveillance feature adds an extra layer of security to your hunting area, protecting it from unauthorized access and potential theft of equipment.
Strategically placing trail cameras at entry points, tree stands, and high-traffic areas allows hunters to monitor and safeguard their hunting grounds year-round. In case of any suspicious activity, the recorded footage can serve as valuable evidence and aid law enforcement in apprehending trespassers.
#4. Predator Control Strategies:
While hunting big whitetails has taken the hunting world by storm, the art of predator control has fallen way. For some reason most dedicated whitetail hunters have an understanding of how a surplus of predators on the landscape can affect the resident whitetail population, yet very few whitetail hunters put any actions towards the remedy. In an unpopular opinion, it boils down to prioritizing time. Trapping, coyote hunting, and other forms of predator control isn't a sexy activity and on the heels of most whitetail fanatics using their "free time" in a tree, any available time in the offseason is spent on higher ranking priorities. Utilizing cell cameras and traps can change that and with most fur bearing seasons in full swing, there is no better time than now.
Outside of making sets, checking traps daily is what consumes time. Taking advantage of cellular trail cameras gives folks the ability to monitor traps remotely, allowing fur bearers to only visit traps to reset or claim critters. Additionally, using trail cameras to see how canine interact with sets can also make you a better trapper. Before rushing out to implement this be sure to verify the legally within your state's fur bearing regulations.
#5. Enhanced Planning for Future Seasons:
The post-season isn't just a time to hang up your gear; it's an opportunity to strategize for the future. Trail cameras provide a wealth of data that can be analyzed to enhance hunting plans for upcoming seasons. By reviewing patterns of deer movement, bedding areas, and feeding habits, hunters can fine-tune their scouting efforts, adjust stand placements, and optimize their overall hunting strategies.
The wealth of information gathered from trail cameras aids in creating a comprehensive picture of the local wildlife dynamics, helping hunters make informed decisions about when and where to focus their efforts. This proactive approach significantly increases the chances of a successful and rewarding hunting season.
Aside the die hard whitetail hunter, the majority view the "offseason" as a break, a time to reorganize and reorder normal life. True whitetail fanatics simply re-prioritize their time yet still execute whitetail centric activities. The old saying "Champions are made in the offseason" doesn't quite ring true in the whitetail world. The fact is, no tags are ever going to be filled over the next several months, however there's plenty of offseason work that can stack the odds in your favor and play a big part of next season's opportunities. Cell camera usage in the offseason is one of those opportunities.
Author: Chad Sylvester, Exodus Co-Owner/Founder